CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has demanded the post of prime minister (PM) with PM and fellow CPN Chairman KP Sharma Oli.
Dahal staked the claims during their meeting at Baluwatar on Saturday that broke the lack of dialogue between the two chairmen for nearly two weeks, according to a standing committee member close to Oli. "The dialogue was not meaningful. They are growing further apart. All the reasons that are being given now are flimsy. Dahal has claimed for leadership of the council of ministers," the member added.
Dahal is reportedly aggrieved about the Karnali dispute, Cabinet reshuffle, Oli's meeting with Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Samant Kumar Goel, murder of a party cadre in Parsa and other issues. "His main demand is leadership of the council of ministers. The situation has deteriorated a lot," another leader close to Oli confirmed. "PM has been demanding the name of ministers but Dahal has not given the names. PM will reshuffle the Cabinet immediately after he gives names."
But a source close to Dahal claimed that he has not claimed for the post of PM. "Saying Dahal demanded so is a blatant lie. He has demanded implementation of the decision taken by the standing committee meeting," the source added. "Dahal had relinquished the post of PM to ensure that there is a stable government for five years. All kinds of rumors have been spread without understanding the issue."
Oli and Dahal had signed a five-point agreement at the time of unification of the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) on May 17, 2018. The two parties had unified to form CPN the next day on the basis of the five-point agreement.
The fourth point of the agreement mentioned that the two chairmen will lead the government as necessary on the basis of equality and equal period.
But Dahal had relinquished his claim for the post of PM after the two chairmen signed an agreement on division of responsibilities in presence of President Bidya Devi Bhandari on November 20, 2019.
Dahal was made chairman with executive rights. Oli and Dahal were to remain chairmen, and Oli to continue to be ranked top but Oli had handed over the executive rights to Dahal.
Dahal was to lead the party and chair party meetings while Oli would lead the government through the current term of House of Representatives, according to the agreement.
The party was then on the verge of split with Dahal aggrieved that Oli continues to run even the party unilaterally and the overwhelming majority of members during the last standing committee meeting seeking resignation of PM Oli.
The two chairmen then formed a six-strong task force in August to resolve internal dispute in the party. The standing committee meeting then took decision on the basis of the report submitted by the task force that recommended that Oli would serve the full five-year term as PM and Dahal would take the wheel of the party.
Dahal was to be fully active in party works but required to consult PM Oli who will remain a sort of ceremonial chairman. Similarly, PM Oli was required to move the government works forward consulting Dahal.
But Oli has unilaterally made appointments of ambassadors and reshuffled Cabinet without endorsement of Dahal since the standing committee decision.
CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel earlier on Sunday said the party faces a grave crisis.
"Serious crisis is facing the unified and indivisible status of CPN now," Paudel has posted on the social media on Sunday. "I request all the leaders, cadres and member comrades to contribute to the defense of party unity by resolving the internal differences through agreement."